Booming of beech trees is affecting forest and the people dwelling or working in those forests. Yes, a new study has revealed that under the influence of climate change, the population of beech trees have increased and there a now dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States. The study was carried out by a group of researchers from the University of Maine and Indiana’s Purdue University.
According to the researchers, the dominance of beech trees in forests has occurred due to the increasing temperatures and precipitation. The study was carried out for 30 years and is one of the first to look at such huge changes over a long period of time in the regions of North-eastern U.S. as well as southeastern Canada. Lead Author Aaron Weiskittel of the University of Maine said that such broad changes might have affected the forest ecosystem badly and also the industries associated with it.
Beech trees do not carry any commercial significance and are mostly used for firewood. These are less valuable than some species of maple and birch trees that can be used in making furniture and flooring. Scientists are quite worried about this growing population of beech trees and want the problem to be fixed as quickly as possible. Weiskittel said, “There’s no easy answer to this one. It has a lot of people scratching their heads. Future conditions seem to be favoring the beech, and managers are going to have to find a good solution to fix it.”
The scientists looked at data collected by the U.S. Forest Service from the year 1983 to 2014 from the states of New Hampshire, Maine, New York and Vermont to gather information about the change in forest composition in those years. The scientists found out that there was a substantial increase in the abundance of American beech trees in those years. Also, at the same time, the population of sugar maple, red maple, and birch trees got decreased. This decline of other trees and increasing dominance of beech trees has occurred due to higher temperature and precipitation in forests, as revealed by the study. Scientists are not worried about the lower value of those beech trees rather they are worried about the spread of beech bark disease that kills the young trees and also the new trees that replace them. This can hamper the forest ecosystem immensely and hence it becomes important to find a solution to this dominance of beech trees.